Cheers to Summer

July 4, 2015
Cheers to Summer

Cool drinks for hot CLE days

Lexi Hotchkiss

DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince's 1991 hip hop masterpiece hits the nail on the head: "Summer, summer, summertime. Time to sit back and unwind."

And there's no better way to take in the relaxing sunniness of summer in Cleveland than with a crisp, cool adult refreshment on a patio.

Sounds heavenly. But, where to begin your summertime cocktail pilgrimage?

Thanks to residents and the team of experts at Destination Cleveland, we've got some local faves.

Cucumber Margarita

If ever there were a drink to inspire summertime, it's the fresh and vibrant Cucumber Margarita served up at the modern Mexican restaurant in Ohio City, Momocho.

 "It's uniquely refreshing and delicious because we puree English cucumbers and then combine with fresh citrus and premium spirits," said Chef Eric Williams. "Plus, it tastes just like a cucumber!"

The El Paso

Strap on your sandals, because summer cocktailing just got spiced-up. Soho Kitchen & Bar, a southern-inspired eatery in Ohio City, treasures one particular summer cocktail: The El Paso.

"It's a refreshing mix of silver tequila, fresh watermelon juice, grapefruit, lime and agave. A cousin to the margarita, we garnish the glass with a house-made jalapeño salt," Chef Nolan Konkoski said. "This drink has everything you want in a summer sipper: sweetness, a boozy punch, a little sour for balance and watermelon - the quintessential hot weather fruit, in our opinion."


Head to the charming east-side neighborhood of Larchmere for happy hour at Felice Urban Café, a chic restaurant inside a turn-of-the-century home, where you'll find alfresco dining options as unique as the menu. Sip a cold Michelada, which combines Mexican beer, el Jimador tequila and Felice's own special tomato juice mix with hot sauce, fresh lime juice and a salted rim.

Pier W Blue Martini

Make way to the gorgeous Pier W (celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015) in Lakewood, where the rooftop patio overlooks the glistening magnificence of Lake Erie. While there, sip the equally-as-stunning Blue Martini, a delicious blend of raspberry vodka, lemonade and Blue Curacao. It simply screams summer.

Prosperity Sangria

One step into Prosperity Social Club's retro American bar and you're definitely going to feel like a cold, craft beer to go with your homemade pierogi. But, step outside onto the Tremont patio and it's time for Prosperity's famous sangria.

"We spike our sangria hard with a good amount of brandy and all fresh squeezed juices from lemons, limes and oranges," Bonnie Flinner, owner, said. "Personally, I always think a drink tastes better when someone else makes it for you. With the somewhat labor-intensive process of making a good batch of sangria, ours is a fine example of enjoying someone else's efforts!"


Spice Kitchen & Bar in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood has made a name for itself as an eatery that only serves the freshest, most seasonal offerings available. That's no different with their drink menu, including a popular favorite called Rainwater.

"It's supposed to be reminiscent of the smell of fresh rain just after a storm," Lorilei Bailey, bar manager, said. "We make our own house-made rose liquor, which you can't find that anywhere else. I use that with Citadelle Gin and a little bit of Cocchi Americano. Then, I use a bit of soda water and garnish with whatever foliage is in season."

Skittles Smokin' Cocktail

You want to experience the king of alfresco happy hour locations? Well, friend, look no further than Azure, located on the rooftop of the new Metropolitan Hotel at The 9. With a sleek and sophisticated design, this stunning patio overlooks the bustling city below.

While there, be sure to order the Skittles Smokin' Cocktail, featuring peach vodka, cranberry juice, Red Bull and... wait for it... dry ice. This thing literally smokes, it's so cold.

DIY Cleveland Cocktail

Bring a little CLE refreshment home with you post-vacay with a drink recipe for your next backyard picnic, thanks to Portside Distillery & Brewery.

Portside, located on the East Bank of the Flats, is Cleveland's first distillery since Prohibition. Using time-honored traditional distilling techniques, Portside currently produces spiced, vanilla maple, silver, Christmas-inspired, and hops-infused rum, as well as four varieties of beer.

The Third Shift

  • 2 muddled lime slices
  • 1.5 oz Portside Spiced Rum
  • 4 oz Old City Soda's Ginger Beer

Pour in a cocktail glass over ice. Enjoy!

"We call this ‘Third Shift' because one of the founders/owners of Portside used to make a version of this drink when he was distilling in the third shift back at the start of Portside back in 2012," said Lauren McPherson, Marketing & Events Manager for Portside. "It represents the hard-working mentality behind the Portside brand and the city of Cleveland as a whole."

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